Top 5 Tips for Buying and Selling Antiques Online

sold!The most exciting thing about buying and selling antiques online is the prospect that the item you are selling might go through the roof.
After all, all you need are two interested parties to battle it out by topping each other’s bids - and the sky is the limit!

By the same token, buying an antique or curio item in an online auction can yield tremendous bargains for the savvy shopper, as many one-of-a-kind pieces may be misclassified, mistimed or simply misspelled - and no one can find them. That’s our first of five tips for buying and selling antiques online:

1. Check for spelling variations

This is an old trick that many online shoppers are wise to, but it still works. For example, if a seller lists a vintage “Louis Vutton” purse instead of (Vuitton), few shoppers will see it and those who do will have little competition from other buyers. If you’re bargain hunting online, check alternate spellings of the keywords; if you’re selling your valuables, include alternate spellings in the auction title - it really does bring in more bids.

2. A picture is worth a thousand bids

The key to effective selling online is pictures, pictures and more pictures, especially if you’re dealing in antiques, rare items, or coins. Potential buyers can’t see the merchandise in person, so they rely almost entirely on the photos. You don’t need a professional camera and lights, but you should Google basic photography tips for online auctions.

3. Get to know the auction format

Although eBay is undoubtedly the best-known auction website, it is not the only game in town. Antique and niche collectors have had their own clubs for decades, and they have their own auction sites with thousands of bidders. For example, is a huge auction website devoted to vintage collectibles, antiques and jewelry; and If you have an antique knife or piece of cutlery, you’d be better off posting it on

4. The reserve price

Auction sites like eBay offer sellers the option of setting a reserve price, which is the minimum amount they will accept for the item. If you set the reserve price at $50, for instance, you can start the auction at a dollar and see how high the biding goes. However, you’re not obligated to sell unless the bidding reaches or exceeds your reserve price. It’s a great way to protect yourself if bidding is disappointing.

5. Be honest about the faults

To keep everyone honest, use the auction description to explain in great detail any flaws, faults, or shortcomings. Don’t worry, you can never go into too much detail about the condition of the item. That goes double for the pictures - take many close-ups of the flaws and faults. If you’re buying, make sure to read the auction description carefully and study the photos.

Warning: buying and selling antiques online is highly addictive, so know what you are getting into. You may soon find yourself wandering around aimlessly, mumbling,” Buy Sell Make Offer and Bid Like Crazy.”

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